Senior living leaders have been duped!
By Steve Moran
I am going to start this article with a confession you likely won’t like (“likely won’t like”, I think my English teacher would not approve of that turn of phrase). I think senior living leaders have been duped!
Maybe duped is not quite right, perhaps peer-pressured . . . into saying their biggest challenge is recruitment and retention. There is adequate evidence to suggest this is simply not true.
Two Proof Points:
When I look at how senior living organizations deploy resources (people and cash), it is pretty clear that a lot more resources go into getting or keeping high occupancy and not into people problems. I am not particularly critical of this, because without occupancy, things fall apart.
While I am not prepared to argue that recruitment is easy, we are, more or less in most markets, actually able to hire enough staff to fill open positions. The problem is almost exclusively that we still really suck at retention. What I find particularly frustrating is that most senior living leaders shrug this off as being primarily a function of not being able to pay a higher wage rate.
No doubt it would be better/easier if senior living organizations would or could pay more, but there is lots of hard evidence that wage rates are not the primary cause of turnover.
Why This Bugs Me
That being said, I do think it may be the number 2 or 3 problem, but believe with all my heart that, if it were the number 1 problem and senior leaders were 100% committed to solving the human capital problem they would also solve whatever occupancy problems they might have.
I know you are now thinking, that Steve Moran is naive or delusional and maybe you are right, but pretty sure not.
Pizza and Dishwashers . . .
In just the last few days I came across these three stories:
New robotic dishwasher for restaurants is taking the dirty work out of the kitchen — This robotic dishwasher is being manufactured and used today. It takes much of what dishwashers do and automates it. Bussers just drop off the dishes and the machines do the rest, scrape dishes, put them in racks, and run them.
It is not quite humanless yet, but getting there. You could pay a lot for a machine like this and have a very short payback.
How This Entrepreneur Plans to Bring Down Big Pizza — His pizza company named “&Pizza” currently employees 750 hourly workers that all make at least $2.00 above the local minimum wage . . . something that should be impossible for survival in the pizza world. It is possible for him to do this by using technology. This year, at least some locations will use something called “dough bots” to automate the boring, dangerous, repetitive work of mixing dough and sliding the raw pies into 800 degree pizza ovens.
He is adamant that he will never, never lay off staff because of automation, but rather will repurpose people to improve the customer experience.
Cutting edge, two-armed droids that can make sushi, play chess, and pour the perfect BEER — At the recent Robot X Manufacturing Expo in Bangkok, Thailand, companies showed off their latest creations that include two-armed robots that can make sushi, pour beers, and play chess. While some are still in the experimental stage and none seem to have direct application to senior living, it seems only a matter of time when they will hit the senior living sweet spot.
It is easy to be discouraged about senior living, costs that mean a smaller market size, and a shrinking labor pool that will increase costs. But take heart. We have machines coming that will do more and more of those menial tasks allowing a redeployment of dollars to people who do the people stuff that is most important.
Senior living is on the verge of rocking the world . . . rocking healthcare in the very best way.